Sunday, July 3

Antigen nightmare before Christmas: “It’s impossible, you have to get up at 7 and queue”

In the final stretch to Good night, the whole family has been infected. The five waited this Thursday in the endless queue that went around the block from the La Paz hospital to confirm the facts. José Carlos tested positive on Tuesday, after feeling unwell and going to the emergency room. Ana has had symptoms for a few days. Her children, the eldest 12 years old and the two twins 9 years old, had a fever the night before. “We know that we are going to test positive, but we want to do it officially, that’s why we all come,” says the mother, after a 50-minute wait. They still had about thirty people ahead of them.

Madrid has become a kilometer long queue. Long lines

in health centers, pharmacies and hospitals. To the childhood vaccination and the third doses against Covid-19, the fury for obtaining the coveted ones has been added this week antigen test that are distributed free of charge by 2,910 pharmacies in the region. Thousands of Madrilenians have taken to the streets before the Christmas holidays and family gatherings to run into a nightmare due to the massive demand and supply problems.

The Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso has bought 12 million tests: 6 million units correspond to drugstores and another 6 to hospitals and outpatient clinics. Although the latter only perform tests at symptomatic personasThat has not prevented an avalanche of healthy citizens without an iota of coughs gathered at their doors to know whether to reorganize their festive plans. The Ministry of Health does not yet have a balance of the last days – except that pharmacies have delivered more than 1 million free tests – but those who are wasting hours in search of an official diagnosis can already be counted by the thousands.

Four hours and not a test

The odyssey of Toni and her daughter Diana started at the Infanta Leonor hospital, an hour between the frozen queue of about 400 people. «They asked and there was only one toilet doing the test. People had been waiting for more than 4 hours … », his wife, Patricia, reconstructs the story. Father and daughter marched at 2:30 p.m. to Gregorio Marañón, where they found few people making time until 4:00 p.m., when the tests were resumed. «After waiting they are told that until seven in the afternoon, nothing. So they are gone, “he sums up. In the end, Patricia’s brother got them a self-test. What a plan. Christmas Eve and Christmas alone at home because even if it was negative it gives us a bit of a feeling to get together and infect someone », says Patricia.

José Carlos and Ana pose with their children, all symptomatic, in the queue of La Paz – G. NAVARRO

Ana, 30, and her sister took turns for more than an hour to advance in the human line that started this Thursday from the main entrance of the general hospital in La Paz. “My father tested positive this morning. He was ill, although we thought it was a cold, and he went to the health center, “explained the young woman, wearing a black coat and matching FPP2 mask. Before going to the hospital, Ana’s sister was planted at 8 in the morning in a pharmacy in the Mirasierra neighborhood, where she has endured two hours until it opened to collect the self-tests of the family. “I have done one and it has tested negative, but I do not trust how I have done it,” he acknowledges. The stick through the nose is intimidating. “I’d rather have a doctor do it to make sure,” ditch, still behind about 20 people.

Alone at home

Ana’s father will have dinner alone on Christmas Eve, in his room, with a mobile phone to make video calls and a computer to be entertained. “Let’s hope it’s nothing!” Asks her daughter, and continues walking towards the interior of La Paz. A dozen people further back, 73 years old and very patient, stood Felipe Yarga. In his fourth tail of the last days, a week after receiving the flu vaccine and the third prick of Pfizer’s coronavirus drug. Several sneezes made him hesitate.

Felipe went to his pharmacy, in the Pilar neighborhood, “to make sure,” but they insisted that he come back the next day first thing in the morning, because the 30 or 40 antigen tests would be exhausted in no time. «The test is impossible, there is no more, you have to get up at seven in the morning and wait for a line. The health center is not an option either, “he assures. Felipe’s last resort, to decide whether to have dinner with his son and daughter-in-law on Christmas Eve, was more than an hour of waiting in La Paz. «Maybe I spend it alone in my house and I pay homage to myself. And I make a zambomba », he jokes. Patience and humor in the sixth wave of the pandemic.

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